Army

Paratroopers pulled from NATO duty in Balkans after alleged sex tape scandal

The head of the British Army made the call less than a week into his new job.

The British Army chief has decided not to send members of 3 Battalion, Parachute Regiment, to the Balkans on NATO duty, after a sex tape appearing to feature some of the personnel at Merville Barracks was shared.

The battalion was due to deploy as a Strategic Response Force in September, on an "operational rehearsal" spanning across Bosnia and Kosovo and a total of 300 people.

Replacement options are now being considered, though, after The Times reported on 7 June that a woman, a civilian, may have been smuggled into the Colchester facility where the explicit video is said to have been filmed.

Having only entered his new role in the service early this week, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders said: "3 PARA is a battalion with remarkable fighting spirit and a magnificent history.

"However, the recent conduct of some members of the battalion has fallen short of that which we all expect of our Army.

"3 PARA will therefore no longer deploy to the Balkans as part of the forthcoming NATO operational rehearsal. I know that the battalion will respond quickly and restore the reputation that they deserve.

"My message to the Army is clear: our licence to operate is founded on trust and confidence and we must hold ourselves to the highest standards.”

An Army spokesperson said: "There will be no impact to Army operational outputs. Another unit will deploy to the Balkans as part of NATO's operational rehearsal for its Strategic Response Force.

"The Army expects the highest standards of behaviour from all their personnel. Anyone not maintaining these standards will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken against them.

"The Army is clear that all forms of unacceptable behaviour, including those of a sexual nature, have no place in an inclusive and respectful Armed Forces."

After the videos were shared, a number of troops were said to have been placed under military police investigation.